Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina


The nation and a group of members who sued the tribe have reached a compromise on drafting a constitution. Catawba Chief Gilbert Blue said the Dec. 16 meeting was very emotional. Tribal leaders agreed to hold the first General Council meeting in more than two years Jan. 13. It also agreed to reinstate the original committee created to draft a constitution. That committee includes some Catawbas who sued demanding immediate elections and financial accountability. "I feel very confident that the committee will agree to a document that a majority of the nation will approve and that will unify us," Blue said. Jack Canty, an original member of the committee and one of 16 Catawbas who sued in 1998, said he was satisfied with the compromise. "This is one good step of getting everybody unified. We have a job ahead of us in a very short time." Though one woman called it no meeting but a shouting match, most were pleased with the outcome. A vote will be taken Jan. 13 on a proposed constitution to expand authority of the nine-member executive committee - the tribe's elected body - by transferring some powers from the General Council, made up of members ages 18 and older.